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Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Monday that ends the requirement that teachers and other childcare and state workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to routine testing. It’s the next step toward ending policies designed to keep COVID from spreading and comes just before the start of the new school year.

New Jersey will no longer require teachers, school employees and workers at childcare centers who aren’t vaccinated to undergo regular testing. The same now goes for state government employees and state contractors who are unvaccinated. To many people, this signaled the end of the COVID pandemic and promised a lot more normalcy as parents and students gear up for back to school.

“With children as young as 6 months old now eligible for vaccines and millions of New Jerseyans vaccinated and boosted, more of our residents are safe from severe illness due to COVID-19,” Murphy said in a statement. “As always, I encourage everyone to stay up-to-date on their vaccination and take other precautions as necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones from this virus.”

The 2021 mandate is lifted immediately for all childcare workers and school employees and on September 1, the mandate will lift for unvaccinated state workers and state contractors, including workers at public colleges and universities.

The change comes just as the CDC has also dropped some of its strict guidelines, most notably when it comes to quarantining.

“High levels of immunity and availability of effective COVID-19 prevention and management tools have reduced the risk for medically significant illness and death,” says the CDC in its latest guidance revealed Thursday.

The agency urges people to know their risk and protect themselves from the virus.

“All persons should seek testing for active infection when they are symptomatic or if they have a known or suspected exposure to someone with COVID-19.”

The CDC goes on to say that in order to “limit social and economic impacts, quarantine of exposed persons is no longer recommended, regardless of vaccination status.”